Custom Tactical Bag – CDH-Tac Finland | experience and review.

For the most part, this will be pretty familiar fodder for you guys, but I thought there’s something wrong with the way these posts usually go. Ordinarily, we post up a load of pics and lists and thoughts about a bag or rig, and pretty much admire each other’s cool stuff. But that’s pretty pointless to me without context. What are you carrying on person? How far away is medical help? How long are you away from home, and how far? What are your colleagues and family equipped to deal with? What’s legal where you are? Are you in a city, airport, federal building or a farm far away from the urban sprawl? How do people dress where you are?

When I started out on all this tacticool gadgety stuff, I pretty much bought stuff that looked cool, did a job and I could afford (barely). I think that’s changed. Now, when I buy something, there’s one question I ask; What capabiity does this add? Because of this, I’ve cut out most of the doohickeys I used to like to carry and pared down my carry to stuff that I need. There’s a bias to things that do many jobs well for little real estate, those that get you out of a bind, and those that do one job very well.

With this in mind, here’s what’s on my person every day. Only thing that ever changes is what watch I wear.
20390532241_b4ca170921_c.jpg

SAK – Victorinox Minichamp – Crazy utility to it’s size

Pen – Caran D’Ache 849 with a fisher refill. Clicky for ease of use but still solid metal

Light – FourSevens Noisy Cricket Quark – 800 lumens on every click, small, rechargable, low mode accessible on twist of bezel. Glow tape to find at night.

Knife – Spyderco UKPK Lightweight – Great simple UK legal slipjoint, clip broke ages ago and keep meaning to replace it, expensive here though.

Phone – Nexus 5 in Magpul case with Cyflect marker

Keys – On leather and HK snap hook, + bottle opener/pry bar and CPR mask.

Watch – Seiko SKX007 on Phoenix NATO strap. Also pictured Traser (Duty watch) and Mondaine (tritium equipped but smart)
And these three bags are what I carry daily.
20196386138_7f761e4015_c.jpg
Colour is off in this pic.
20196312020_7bf5d8aa65_c.jpg
(Left to right: Custom handmade leather satchel, CDHTac Finland custom pack, Arc’teryx LEAF Khard 30)

Which one is used depends on what needs carrying, occassion and sesason.

Anyway, the bag is custom. It was made by CDH-Tac Finland, who’s an awesome bag maker. I looked for months, and he’s far and away the best guy I could find for the job. The things that closed it were his shoulder straps (most important bit), and creativity and attention to detail.
FB Here: https://www.facebook…141110645925106

You can see the build in progress, as well as examples of his other works here: http://itstactical.c…bag/#entry41561

There were a few specifications, it had to be thin enough to the body to sit in a chairlift or vehicle without being pushed off a seat, slim enough to go through doorways easily, be lined with light material, and be able to be mounted to larger packs or load bearing vests.

20384357435_3cafd1c65a_c.jpg
Externally, the bag is pretty straight forward. Molle is no longer a standout feature in a crowd. Every man and their dog have tactical styled bags now. They do not however have any idea what to hang off them, or much taste. Soft parts are all ranger green, hardware is tan. There’s only room for a single column of PALS down each side, still useful. That grimlock on the right carries my ball cap. On the front there’s a big field of loop for patches, though I’m usually quite subdued on that front. The zip is for entry to a compartment the size of the panel for documents and miscellany. This compartment carries:
Moleskine Diary
Jetstream Four + 1 Pen and pencil
Arc’teryx Rho LTW beanie
Headphones, tidied with a bulldog clip
Work ID Lanyard

20197711499_d17d78fd52_c.jpg
Now to what is usally the most important part of a pack, and also usually not much considered – the shoulder straps. These are why I chose CDH, low profile and comfortable. In this picture I’ve only got half of the removable sternum strap on, decided to post this while adding it back on. With a pack of this size and use, the importance is lower than on a pack for multi day trips, but it’s still going to be on my back almost every day, and I can attest to the comfort. One feature of these straps is that they’re removable, allowing you to run the bag slick as a vehicle med pack for example, or to use the 1″ ITW buckles to mount direct to armour or a larger pack.

Internal:
19763405493_57cc8e5cdd_c.jpg
It’s loop lined for velcro pouches, with a few rows of pals along the top for hanging pouches. I made the switch to a hook and loop system for a few reasons. I don’t want to buy three of everything for different bags for starters. I like to drop in what works to whatever pack I’m using any day. I was already way into it after using my Khard for a few months, but the utility was proven when ripping out a med pouch to rifle through it in a high stress situation. I prefer it to MOLLE / PALS as it’s fast to switch, and I’m not a fan of having a load of stuff hanging off the outside of my pack. Fine for camping bag if that’s your thing, but it draws the wrong kind of attention around here, and overbuilt for internal pouches.

The two pouches at the top are MOLLE, basically because that’s the only option, and I like to ocassionally go very low profile and stick them in the front pockets of my jacket. Pretty much unnoticable, but between them will cover most eventualities. On the left is a Maxpedition mini pocket organizer, set up as a pocket trauma kit, on the right is a Blue Force Gear Small Admin Pouch, setup with the kit to sort most situations. Between them is a bottle of hand sanitizer on a carabiner, and below are my admin and medical cubes, with a Hydro Flask on the left and a folded up bag underneath it.

20384290995_ab04613d35_c.jpg
The lid of the bag is also lined with loop, and folds completely open. The zip pocket is sized about perfect for a tablet or e-reader, and holds my Nexus 7 tablet. The zip pockets are lined with multicam litelok, which are the kind of awesome touches that CDHTac excels at.

This side has some patches and a maxpedition admin panel, with a wallet for loyalty and travel cards, as well as black and silver sharpies, pens, pencils, a ruler and a titanium spork.

Pocket Trauma Pack
20197628939_a8695d6edd_c.jpg
This pouch has the basics in it, covering most medical emergencies until more help arrives.

Quick-Clot Sport
1

Gauze Pads
6

FoxSeal Chest Seals
2

SWATT Tourniquet
1

Small Sharpie
1

Nitrile Gloves
2 Pairs

Photon light
1

Steropore adhesive dressings
2

Pocket CPR Mask
1

Small Admin Pouch
20358483376_0289fc9f1d_c.jpg
This pouch is pretty much a ‘save the day’ pouch, as the contents have on many occassions. The multitool+bit kit especially. The Black Diamond Ember is a rechargable flashlight that also can be used to charge mobile devices.

SOG Bladeless Multitool
1

SOG Hex Bit Kit
1

BD Ember Power Light
1

Paracord deployment Lanyard
6ft

Semi-permanent Marker
1

Cable, micro USB
1

Stiff plastic sheet
1

Bic Lighter
1

Large Admin Cube
20390411871_cc93637607_c.jpg
The bulkier but useful items live here. The FourSevens 123 Mini is here for strobe and beacon functions (signalling/visibility) and longevity of lithium batts.

Powermonkey Solartraveller Integrated water-resistant solar panel and battery
1

MU Folding USB charger British three pin plugs are bulky
1

USB Cable
1

Micro Cordage
1

Medium Dry Bag
1

12V USB Charger
1

Marker Panel LW w/SOLAS tape
1

 

BooBoo kit

Contains various meds, plasters (bandaids), safety pins, tape, tweezers, gloves

Large Med Cube
20375680472_cd57d0b825_c.jpg
I immediately regretted taking everthing out to take this picture. I’m not a paramedic, so this wasn’t packed for ease of access and replenishment, it was packed to fit the most lifesaving gear into the smallest space. So packing everthing back in took about ten minutes.

Bolin Chest Seal
1

Asherman Chest Seal
1

Trauma Bandage
2

H+H Rolled Gauze
1

SOFTT-W Tourniquet
1

Trauma Shears, orange
1

Micropore Tape
1

Vent Aid
1

Saline Pods
2

Nitrile Gloves
4 Pairs

Alcohol Wipes
1

Triangular Bandage
1

A note on buying custom. Do your research, find someone you trust, have a conversation, and give them some latitude for their creativity. Get it right the first time.

 

This post originally appeared on the ITS Tactical forums in August 2015. Some elements of the pack have since changed, but it’s still holding up very well and shows almost zero signs of wear.

Pouches for Velcro Loop Lined Packs

When I first picked up my Arc’teryx LEAF Khard, I had some difficulty finding hook velcro lined pouches to stick inside it. At the time, the main use of velcro linings in tactical packs was for CCW holster pouches, or rather expensive medical pouches. Now more and more packs have the function, with Blue Force Gear, Vertx, LBX / LBT and more joining the fray.

Note: Velcro is a trade mark, used here interchangably with hook and loop. Many suppliers use other brands.

Despite what the marketing blurb on any MOLLE pack says, PALS webbing doesn’t lend itself to quickly changing out pouches according to the days needs. The benefit of using a velcro system is that you can have pouches ready to go for differing needs, and no need to duplicate important and expensive gear amongst different bags. On more formal occasions I’ll tear the pouches I need from my Khard and stick them on a velcro panel by Flimuur Tactical, and drop that in a leather satchel. No lengthy swapping kit over to different compartments, and everything is where you expect it. Gear can be stored on a patch panel when not in use, visible and organised.

Drop in panel by Flimmuur Tactical

When I got my Khard, there were very few companies making compatible accessories. Thankfully that’s changed, though there are still many more companies producing loop lined packs than there are ones making pouches and accessories to fit inside them. If you’re searching for pouches, it can pay off to widen your search. For example, shotgun shell saddles are often lined with hook velcro, as are rip-off medic pouches.

This isn’t the first time Velcro pouches have been in fashion. Remember those SWAT vests that had loop covered in them with a grid of poppers? The pouches made for these vests are perfect for repurposing, and can be found cheap second hand with a bit of digging.

Arc’teryx Khard 30 with pouches

If you’re searching for pouches to drop in, below are some places to start. For simplicity’s sake, I’ve linked the manufacturer’s site, but local stockists might be better for you. If you’re looking for velcro lined packs, many of these manufacturers do bags as well.

  • Blue Force Gear (US)
    • Popular range of versatile ‘dappers’. Update announced SHOT Show 2015.
  • LBX Tactical (US)
    • The original pouches, wide variety of size, material and purpose.
  • Vertx (US)
    • ‘Tactigami’ MOLLE and belt adapters, holsters, magazine pouches.
  • Maxpedition (US)
    • Hook and loop pouches and panels.
  • 5.11 Tactical (US)
    • Light-writer and ‘TacTec’, formerly back up belt system pouches.
  • Tactical Tailor (US)
    • Elastic magazine pouches, well suited to other uses.
  • Milspec Monkey (US)
    • Multiwrap pouches and elastic loops.
  • CTOMS (CA)
    • Medical specific pouches, PALS panels, GP pouches.
  • Velocity Systems (US)
    • Taken over production from LBT/LBX of official Khard pouches. Including hard plastic parts and straps for covert carriage of compact rifles.
  • S.O.TECH Tactical (US)
    • Provide medical, admin and other pouches.
  • NFM (NO)
    • Utility pouches, mesh pouches, ammunition carriage and covert rifle carry
  • Vanquest Gear (US)
    • CCW Pouches and MOLLE adaptor
  • ATS Tactical Gear (US)
    • Various ‘CAP’ pouches and loop lined packs.

If you’ve got any other suppliers, or are making suitable kit yourself, let me know below or via the contact page and I’ll add to the list.

Setting up your kit

From looking at the way other officers have their kit set up, it’s plain to see that many don’t spend much time thinking it over. I guess most set it up when they first are issued it, and then don’t give it much thought after then. You could be quite literally relying on your kit for your life, so it’s worth sorting it properly.

When you first get kit, it’s likely that you’ll be playing with it while wearing a belt over your PT kit. In the real world, you’ll be wearing heavy boots, a bulky vest, and normal clothing. If you don’t take this into account and position (for example) your baton on your weak side hip for cross-draw, you might find that you can’t reach over your paperwork laden vest and get to it. Best to find this out in the comfort of your locker room or home than when you really need it on the street. If you aren’t sure of what a piece of kit is, find out, it might be a lot more or less useful than you expect. Avoid placing equipment over the small of your back, aside from a glove pouch over the spine, that could protect it.

Belt keepers are a prime example of this. They keep your belt staying where you put it on when you start the shift, and also help stop the kit on your belt from sliding around. I’ve also found they distribute the weight over your entire hip area and avoid pain. They are not for filling every space between individual belt pouches, despite what you might see colleagues do.

If you’re having trouble with your belt kit sliding while you move, or take off your belt for office work or food, there are other solutions. Most nylon and some leather belts are lined with loop velcro. To stop your kit moving about, some sticky backed hook velcro on the inside of the pouches belt loop will lock them in place. Simply use a bit of paper over the velcro to slide the pouch on, then press the velcro down and it’s locked in. Another solution is to replace your issue or personal inner belt with a velcro one. This replaces the belt keepers too, it’ll keep everything where it should be. I haven’t tried this, and my one reservation is that the velcro might shred the belt loops on your trousers.

Another aspect of your personal equipment to consider is retention. Is your belt just one click of the side release buckle from being on the floor? Belt keepers or velcro inner belts aren’t sufficient or designed for retention. Wraps for buckles, or three point locks can help prevent this, or changing to a pronged leather belt. A leather belt has additional benefits of conforming to your shape for more comfort, and quick adjustment to go over jackets, coveralls, or a post lunch belly. To see what I mean about conforming to your shape, lie a well worn leather belt down on the floor and you’ll see it’s far from as straight as the day you bought it. Some leather belts sold for police use are nowhere near as stout and rigid as is necessary, avoid the basics, buy something that’ll last. One part of retention is thinking about where your personal items are. Is your deeply beloved smartphone living in an unzipped trouser pocket, waiting to jump out at the first footchase? Get into the habit of keeping kit in secure locations, and making sure it’s all in order when you start your shift. Back pocket might work when off duty, but you don’t want your personal phone on the floor during a scuffle, do you?

With nylon belts, don’t overlook the belt sliders/dogs that go either side of the buckle, they’re very important for retaining the belt, otherwise it’s only a small overlap of velcro keeping your belt on, and it could easily fail when you’re being held onto by the belt.

In closing, if what you’re issued isn’t up to scratch, make it known. Don’t use kit you wouldn’t trust your life with. That’s exactly what you’re doing. Daily.

The bag.

Now you’ve got your belt kit down, move onto the duty bag. You can get by without one, but like most not essential kit, it will make your life a lot easier. The contents of this will be largely down to personal preference, but don’t rely on others to have what you need. Having the right paperwork at the right time can save you hours of writing later on, doing what you could have done better at the scene. That said, there’s way more than could be carried on your person, which is where your bag comes in. There’s no need to carry huge multiples of each form, a couple of the most commonly used and one of the less common ones should do, just remember to restock when you can.

There is no point in having something if you don’t know where it is, you may as well leave it at home. So keep the bag organised. First on scene to an RTC, do you want to be digging around for your detested hi-vis? Or with a violent prisoner whose mates are coming over to have a look, it’s best to know where your limb restraints are. Don’t rely on things being in the car, even if they’re meant to be, or your colleagues having them. Many officers buy MOLLE packs and then never put anything on them. Even without expensive pouches, it’s a great platform for rigging up some creative solutions. Shock cord can be bought for about 40p a metre at outdoor shops.

The final category of stuff is not what you need, but what you want. Depending on the day, you might really want it though! For me, the absolute essential is a tupperware box of Yorkshire Tea and sugar packets. Wherever I end up, I need a proper brew. A warm fleece, a spork, some hot sauce will all boost morale when you really need it.

When choosing the bag itself, you don’t have to go for something super high-speed-low-drag, but go for Cordura and brand names, rather than polyester knock offs from ebay that will give up the ghost after a few months of hard use. I use a TT Removable Operator Pack. It was initally chosen for another purpose, but does very well in this role.

Below is a brief list of what I’d pack in any duty bag

  • Warmth – fleece/jacket
  • Hi-Vis
  • Spare eppaulettes with numbers. Poach from them if yours break.
  • Breathalyser tubes
  • Food – snacks, drinks, tea/coffee, hot sauce, fork
  • Water bottle
  • Restraints – leg restraints / spare cuffs if you’re issued and trained in their use
  • Paperwork, spares of what’s in your vest, large booklets like s.136 book, crime scene logs.
  • Spare batteries / torch
  • Phone charger and cable
  • Painkillers and any personal meds you’re prescribed
  • Map of your area. You might run out of data, can be marked with CCTV locations etc
  • Pens, lots of pens. Cheap ones to giveaway to the public and unprepared colleagues.
  • Evidence bags of varying sizes and type
  • Any kit you can use that won’t be on hand in a standard car, for example medical kit, dangerous dog kit.

 

Arc’teryx Khard 30 – real life use.

Following up from the ‘What’s in your pockets?’ competition, over at ITS tactical, I thought I’d do a post of what’s in my bag, even without the incentive of ITS goodies!

This is the bag, an Arc’teryx Khard 30 in wolf, perfect size to carry all I need and have room left over for whatever extras I’ll need that day.
15274239921_23f712f3bc.jpg
I seem to have a different solution to most for the non-removable waist belt. I use some shock cord to keep it tidied away.
15274239031_f1917e37b6.jpg

This is the bag spread open:
15090609719_3776a26e7f.jpg
On the left hand side is an ESSTAC KYWI Shotty Card, used instead for cables.
Below that is a muji tarpaulin cube with various admin bits and bobs.
Attached to two grimlocs at the top is another admin pouch for speedy access.
Below that is a keychain with various helpful tools and a CPR mask.
Also stored loose is a TD Liberty Bottle and a Sea to Summit X-CUP, used more often as a dog bowl while on the move.
On the right, is a Maxpedition Hook and loop organiser, with pens, ID holder, Ruler, etc.
In the large zipped pouches on the side, are an Arc’teryx Beta AR and an Atom Vest.

Cable card:
15090806667_ebe3fce248.jpg

  • Alcohol Hand Gel
  • Mini Bic lighter
  • Micro-USB cable
  • USB power cable for Powermonkey
  • Camera Cable
  • 3.5mm Male – male cable

Admin Cube
15254354286_4079058908.jpg

  • All laid out on a Keela stowaway bag (giveaway at a trade show, but very useful.)
  • Foursevens Quark Tactical AA2
  • Exped drybag L
  • Waterproof plasters, various headache pills
  • Spare Shock cord and hardware
  • Cyalume
  • Admin designator, in a waterproof phone pouch with a small sewing kit
  • Electrical tape
  • Storm matches
  • Fabric medical tape (much stickier than steropore)
  • Battlesystems MPIL Marker panel
  • Paracord deployment lanyard
  • Spare chewing gum
  • Spare flints for zippo
  • Spare disposable lighter
  • Cigarette filters (I roll my own)
  • Pen set
  • Lighter fluid for zippo

Molle Admin Pouch - Bulldog tactical gear (not that bulldog)
15274231271_4fe9c5aa20.jpg

  • Moo Mini cards
  • Micro USB cable
  • Tips for powermonkey cables
  • Ligher
  • PocketToolX
  • Spare pencil Leads
  • Spare AA batteries in case
  • Monkey Tail USB cables
  • Small tape measure
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste etc
  • Nokia backup phone with paid up sim
  • Main pouch elastic – detail below
  • Powermonkey Solarmonkey Adventurer (fits well in the external shock cord)

15090810567_0da8ef0b3d.jpg

  • Top Row
  • Muji AL pen and pencil
  • Four in one screwdriver
  • Cable ties
  • Nail clippers
  • Victorinox Classic SD SAK
  • Chapstick
  • Mini-Bic
  • MU folding charger
  • Skullcandy Headphones
  • Foursevens MINI 123 X
  • Lower row
  • Exotac Polystriker
  • Spare .7mm Leads
  • Headphone splitter
  • Folding Razor Saw
  • Case with surefire earpro EP3
  • Case with spare CR123 batts
  • 12v to 2xUSB charger

Keyring
15274234541_7c707f4af4.jpg

  • Spyderco Bug
  • Peanut lighter
  • Handcuff Key
  • Flash Drive
  • PocketToolX Brewzer
  • ‘If Lost’ tag
  • Keys
  • CPR Shield in pouch

Maxpedition Hook Loop admin pouch
15090607469_6eaf17e8b6.jpg

  • Small metal ruler
  • ID/Pass holder
  • Automatic pencil
  • Eraser
  • Four colour biro
  • Uniball Powertank
  • Highlighter
  • Clicky Sharpie

Medical Cube
15090803677_5fbf077f15.jpg

  • Bag of nitrile gloves
  • Vent aid and more nitrile gloves
  • Triangular Bandage
  • Rolled Gauze
  • Field Dressing and Ambulance Dressing
  • Bolin and Asherman Chest Seals
  • Sterile Saline pod
  • Eye bath
  • Tuf-Cut shears
  • Pouch.
  • (supplemented by a pocket med kit)

Loose in the bag:
15091083550_5c9bc3beeb.jpg

  • Tactical Distributors Liberty Bottle
  • A couple of coozies, right now a TD one and a Platatac one
  • Whatever book is on the go (today – Jupiter’s Travels – Ted Simon)
  • X-CUP for use as a mobile dog bowl (only click out one layer)
  • A 5.11 Shemagh
  • A Haglofs pack cover. Much as I love the khard, the top is very flat, so doesn’t shed rain very easily.
  • A self built pocket med kit, containing:
    • SOFTT-W tourniquet
    • ASP pocket light
    • Lots of gloves
    • Resus shield
    • Quick Clot sport
    • Gauze
    • Huge plasters (can be used for a three sided seal in a pinch)

Internal Top pocket
15091206348_8296db6b95.jpg

  • Nexus 7 tablet
  • Headphones

External Top pocket
15091076670_6e87040917.jpg

  • Sunglasses x 2 (Ray-Ban squared aviators and Gant wayfarer style)
  • Moleskine Diary
  • Caran D’Ache 849 pencil
  • Notebook with custom stamp
  • Spare filters
  • Railcard

I hope this has given an idea of just how much can be fitted into the Khard quite comfortably. I welcome any suggestions on how I can improve my EDC, but for me it’s not a survivalist thing, it’s the equipment that makes my life go more smoothly and happily. Pretty pleased with this set up for now.

If it looks like this is the max the bag can take, in addition to this yesterday, it carried another book, pants, socks and shirts for two days, a washbag, three coke cans, biscuits, a hat and had room to spare. It’s a pack that’s easy to pack well. I also love how it holds its rather handsome structure even when half full, rather than collapsing in an unattractive and uncomfortable manner.

 

This review has been cross posted to ITS Tactical.

 

I haven’t posted links to the products as there are just too many! But if you want any more info on a particular item, let me know below.

Retailer Round-Up

I’ve just bought a few bits of kit, from varying suppliers, and it would be hard for me to compare all of the kit on here as often it’s small things like gloves, and patches, but I can tell you how the companies treated me, and my experience with them. This should also serve as a useful link directory for general police suppliers in the UK.

PatrolStore - 01737 648 438
Absolutely stellar service, from start to finish, super-quick shipping, phone order went well, honest helpful advice.

Niton – 01293 549 858
Helpful customer service, checked products and detailed how to return items if necessary, shipped next day even quite late in the day.

Peter Jones ILG – 01873 857 573
Again an outstanding company, the quality to price ratio is amazing, and domestically made goods if that’s your thing. Went out of their way to help me and found unlisted items too.

MC-Products / Protec Police Supplies – 01515 480 144
Know their stuff, helpful, online customer service works well, good communications and helped sort out my mistake in shipping.

UKMCPro – 02392 838 800
Excellent guys, go above and beyond frequently (see their facebook page) and know their customer very well.

Tactical-Kit – 01778 561 672
I only did a simple transaction, but they were fast and efficient.

Police/Tactical Gloves group test

One of the most important bits of kit this time of the year are gloves, in part for protective reasons, in part to keep you warm and even also for safety reasons, as if your hands are warm and protected then they’ll probably be out in front of you, rather than tucked behind your stabbie or in a fleece pocket.

I’ve been using all of the gloves on test for at least a month or two, the pics were taken today, after some use and abuse.

The gloves on test are the Op. Zulu Full Kevlar Professional Duty Gloves, from PatrolStore.com, some ‘Contractor Gloves’ from my local builders merchants, and some Damascus Patrol Guards.

For reference, my hands are quite slim and large.

Op. Zulu Full Kevlar Professional Duty Gloves

Professional Duty Gloves

Fit

On donning them, my first thoughts were that they are rather snug, feels like they were made without taking the lining fully into account. However, as my fingers aren’t too fat, they actually fit me rather nicely. One thing that annoys me often with gloves, is that they fit well when your hand is lying completely flat and not in other positions, with these ones however that’s not the case, and they hold naturally a slightly curled hand, I don’t have to work against the material at all. The seam on the thumb is also not along the pad, something making them more comfortable again.

After about ten minutes of wearing, I found the cuff rather uncomfortable, it’s made of nylon webbing, and is rather rigid when attempting to rotate your hand. This isn’t a material that tends to soften too much with time, so I was rather worried. I needn’t have been, as actually they are very comfortable after slightly loosening the cuff.

The only thing I would have liked is a sizing chart on the website, that includes finger length, but most don’t have those anyway. (it may be there, hiding, if so, let me know in comments or contact)

Performance

The cuff is easily operated by a gloved left hand as well, something oddly overlooked by so many companies… The cuffs also add a level of protection to the wrists.

Warmth wise, these gloves do rather well, the kevlar isn’t really insulating, but it adds an important extra layer, and no wind gets through the seams or cuff, I’ve worn these on and off all winter, comfortably.

The kevlar in the gloves is seen by some as rather pointless, as actually searching you are safer using better techniques than poking fingers in pockets thinking you’re safe. I also subscribe to this school of thought, however I don’t think that having kevlar gloves is without merit, it adds a comforting layer of protection in scuffles, with broken glass, on MoE/similar, dropped needles and all sorts. These gloves are also a little unusual in that the kevlar goes around the back too, which is actually rather useful, as anyone who’s skinned their knuckles will attest.

Finally, one of the absolute most useful things about these gloves if you are in the Police Service is their appearance. An incredibly fancy pair of Oakley hard knuckle gloves, is absolutely no use to you if they’re against force policy or your skip doesn’t like them. With these, once the cuffs are hidden they look exactly the same as the gloves issued in most forces.

They are now going on for further testing with a Met PC, who’ll post his thoughts here after some use.

Unbranded Contractor Gloves

SOG Multi

These were picked up for about a tenner at a builders merchants. I won’t give a link as I don’t know what they’re sold as elsewhere, but half the bonus is that you can try them on and get the exact right size.

Fit

These gloves fit me quite well, unsurprisingly as they were bought in a physical shop and aren’t in a blister pack but were loose to try. However, they still don’t fit as well as the ones from PatrolStore. Despite having a stretchy(ish) padded back, the fit is far from snug. The seam on the thumb is at a dodgy angle for me too. Basically these would be perfect for someone with large round fingers that aren’t very long. But that’s not me…

SOG Powerlock multi-tool

Performance

They have a padded feeling back but for some reason it’s not super warm. However the palm and fingers are lined with a thin protective covering with a suede-like feel. It’s also doubled over at the palm with padded areas, which are quite comfortable. The protective surface also covers over the ends of the fingers, an area often overlooked by this type of glove, leaving one area completely dead long before the life of the rest of the glove, as it rubs on doors, pavements, walls and all sorts but is often unprotected (See Damascus below). The cuff is elasticated and will easily fit over a watch, and once adjusted go on and off without undoing the velcro fastener.

Tactical alternatives...

In short, if I was someone using this every day of the week, all day all winter, spend a bit more, get something better. However, if you are often vehicle based, or are just looking for a spare pair to stuff in your kit bag for unexpected scene guards, etc., you can’t go far wrong for the price. If you’re wondering why they’re called contractor gloves, that’s just what it said on the shelf.

Damascus Patrol Guard

Tactical Gloves

This is the final pair of gloves, as I’ve had them the longest and I can’t seem to find a UK stockist now, which is a pity, as I really do like them.

Fit

These gloves hold a comfortable shape, and are a very good fit. When I first bought them they ran a little snug, but now they’re perfect, and were after a few days. The back of the gloves are made of neoprene-like material, which doesn’t keep the wet out forever, but it does for a good while, and when your hands are wet they stay quite warm. The mid section of the back is elasticated, as are the outer two fingers (pinkie side), which makes articulating your hand very easy.

The palm and inside fingers are all the same material, which feels more comfortable than some of the more complex systems of random padding, which changes the feeling of items and seems to make you lose dexterity. (another good point for the Op. Zulu pair too)

Performance

These gloves perform amazingly, I’ve had them for around four years now, and they are still going very strong. I’ve prodded them with needles knives and everything else, and there’s not a scratch, they’ve cleared thorns from blocked roads, moved barbed wire and houses, and a load more stuff everything I can’t remember right now.

As I said before, they allow great articulation and dexterity, which is about the most important part for me. However they have a few other features that others may find important. The least likely is the wear patches at the thumb and inside first finger. They’re designed presumably to stop slide bite from semi-autos (american gloves – can you tell), but they actually are rather useful, in protecting from wear, from bike handlebars, knurling on torches, etc. The thumb is covered in terry towel, for wiping away sweat. if you’ve been counting, you’ll realise that there are five seperate materials. Sounds dumb, but it works, and that’s about all that matters.

(Although not obviously available under this brand in the UK/EU, I’ve found very similar ones sold by Mehler-Vario-System (DE))

 

 

The Best of The Best

I’ve just added a new page to the site; it compiles the best piece of kit in each category. Check it out here

I thought it might be of use to collate all of the most commonly requested bits of kit’s best options in one place.

This list is based upon the feedback of many Police officers from the street and specialist teams. This is not based on first look impressions, but after years of use. If it breaks, it’s not going on the list.

Upcoming Posts

I doubt anyone’s looking at this yet, but if you are, and wondering what sort of thing will be going up here, first up is a group review of gloves, with the new OP-ZULU full kevlar duty gloves, Damascus Patrol Guards, and a pair of Contractor gloves from my local builders merchants.

The OP-ZULU gloves were kindly given by PatrolStore.com to test a few weeks ago, but I’ve been waiting until I’ve had them a while and put them through their paces before sticking up a review.

If you’ve come here from Police Specials, then don’t worry, it will be posted there too!

After that will be a torches group test, including all of the most popular models, including the LED Lenser P7 and Fenix TK10.